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The Sharks currently pay a rent for use of the stadium they share with Super League neighbours Salford Red Devils.

Sale are bidding to buy the AJ Bell Stadium and say that, if they are unsuccessful, they will build their own.

The Sharks currently pay a rent for use of the stadium they share with Super League neighbours Salford Red Devils but owner Simon Orange says they have made an offer to the stadium company.

“We’re in negotiations at the minute and, if we can’t buy this stadium, then we’re going to have to build our own because we have got to own and control our own destiny,” said Orange, speaking at the Premiership club’s pre-season media day.

“We’ve made an offer but it’s still early stages. I can’t go into detail but the offer we’ve made we think is above what it’s worth.”

Sale moved out of their old Heywood Road ground and into the purpose-built stadium when it was opened in 2012 with the aid of an initial £22million loan from Salford City Council, who last week approved an additional loan of £632,000.

If the Sharks succeed in their bid, Orange confirmed that Salford would continue to be tenants.

Fans from both rugby clubs have lodged complaints about access to the stadium but Orange says a new access road is due to open on October 31 while there are plans for the Manchester tram system to be expanded to the nearby Trafford Centre within the next two years.

Meanwhile, Orange says the club are targeting a top-four spot following the close-season “sprinkling of stardust” headed by the capture of Australia fly-half James O’Connor.

“I think mid-table has been a good result for Sale over the last few years but we’ve got different ambitions now,” Orange said.

“We need to be moving into the top four as soon as we can. And when we get in there, we want to stay there.”

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond confirmed that O’Connor, who has signed a three-year contract after moving from French club Toulon, will miss the start of the Aviva Premiership campaign at Wasps on September 2.

“He’s had his ankle cleaned but he’s on schedule to be fit for the Newcastle game,” Diamond said.

“He’s fitted in really well. He will add to our already exuberant backline.”

Diamond says the club are close to announcing the signing of a Fijian international winger which will take their squad up to 34.

“It’s common knowledge that we run on a small squad, which is how we like to do it,” he added. “We want 34 players who are all as good as each other.

“Bringing in people like James O’Connor, Faf de Klerk, Josh Strauss and Jono Ross adds an exciting blend of power and knowledge.”

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